Owners of mobile and home-based businesses in County Durham are being reminded that there is still time to apply for financial support aimed at helping them get through the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this year limited fixed funding was made available by the Government through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) which could be used to fund a discretionary policy. Through such policies, councils were expected to give financial assistance to businesses in the hospitality, leisure, accommodation and personal care sectors which had not had any previous support. The policies were designed to help companies which do not have their own business rates accounts but still incur monthly fixed business-related costs and which have been significantly impacted by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

In rolling out its discretionary policy Durham County Council extended the support it would make available using the ARG funding to those businesses in shared commercial spaces, taxi drivers, registered childcare providers, childminders as well as driving instructors.

The council has to date committed support amounting to more than £193million to a range of business sectors across the county through various coronavirus assistance grants. It decided in May to extend the ARG support beyond the original deadline, giving businesses until 30 June to claim.

Under the scheme, eligible businesses with monthly fixed costs of between £100 and £200 receive a one-off payment of £500, those with monthly fixed costs of £200 to £400 are given a one-off payment of £1,000, while those with a monthly fixed cost of over £400 receive a payment of £2,500.

To be eligible, businesses must operate in the hospitality, leisure, accommodation or personal care sectors which have not had any support prior to ARG and be able to:

  • Demonstrate fixed business-related costs of at least £100 a month, these must be integral to the running of the business and not include personal salary costs or rent/ mortgage costs
  • Evidence that the business provides the majority of the applicant’s income (over 50 per cent)
  • Demonstrate that the business is within the hospitality, accommodation or leisure (HAL) sector, is in the HAL supply chain or provides in-person, face to face services
  • Demonstrate that the business has been severely impacted by local and/or national restrictions
  • Evidence that the business was trading on 18 September 2020
  • Demonstrate that the business has not received or is eligible for support under the Local Restrictions Support Grant or the current ARG funding.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We understand that for all business sectors across County Durham the last 15 months have been incredibly tough, which is why we want to ensure that we reach each and every eligible business across the county.

“We encourage any businesses that have not already had support through this grant to find out if they meet the eligibility criteria, and if they do so, to apply for it.”

Business owners in County Durham can find out more and apply for financial support by going to www.durham.gov.uk/covid19businessgrants